BACKGROUND: Patients with schizophrenia need continuous integrated healthcare, but many discontinue their treatment, often experiencing adverse outcomes. The first objective of this study is to assess whether patient characteristics or treatment history are associated with discontinuity of psychiatric elective care. The second objective is to assess whether practice variation between providers of psychiatric care contributes to discontinuity of elective care. METHODS: A large registry-based retrospective cohort of 9194 schizophrenia patients, who were included if they received elective psychiatric care in December 2014-January 2015. Logistic regression models were used to identify predictive factors of discontinuity of care. The dependent variable was the binary variable discontinuity of care in 2016. Potential independent predictive variables were: age, sex, urbanization, and treatment history in 2013-2014. Practice variation between providers was assessed, adjusting for the case mix of patients regarding their demographic and care utilization characteristics. RESULTS: 12.9% of the patients showed discontinuity of elective psychiatric care in the follow-up year 2016. The risk of discontinuity of care in 2016 was higher in younger patients (between age 18 and 26), patients with a history of receiving less elective psychiatric care, more acute psychiatric care, more quarters with elective psychiatric care without antipsychotic medication, or receiving no elective treatment at all. No evidence for practice variation between providers was found. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that the pattern of previous care consumption is an important prognostic factor of future discontinuity of elective care. We propose that previous care consumption can be used to design strategies to improve treatment retention and focus resources on those most at risk of dropping out.